I should get some glasses for the solar eclipse, I reminded myself.
The eclipse was less than a week away, and I felt special that the day of the eclipse was also my birthday.
Later that day I read in the newspaper the glasses were sold out in the stores in our area.
Where could I get some glasses? I wondered. Could I share with someone?
I texted a couple of my close friends to ask if they had any extra glasses. One texted me back to say she would be at work that day, and they had glasses at their work place to share.
I didn’t hear back from friend #2.
I’m believing God will work it out for me to see the eclipse, I decided. It’s my birthday, and that’s what I would like for my birthday.
At work on Saturday, a work mate said, “They’re passing out glasses here the day of the eclipse.”
I went to the computer and read the email which stated the same information. The glasses were to be passed out between 12noon and 2pm. Monday was my day off, but I could drive over and get my glasses and then watch the eclipse.
Thank You, Lord.
My birthday arrived, and my daughter and I gave blood in the morning and went to a restaurant where we met my husband and other daughter for my birthday breakfast. It was late morning by then.
I have plenty of time to get to my work place and get the glasses, I thought as my daughters and I left the restaurant and headed to Clearwater–the next town over. It was before 1pm, so we would get there in plenty of time.
When I reached the table where the glasses were to be passed out, I heard a worker behind the table say to someone else who came for glasses, “We don’t have any left.”
I stepped up to the table to hear the details, “We ran out in a half hour.”
Oh no, I thought. What about my miracle, Lord? I was so grateful You were going to provide, but now I don’t get to the see the eclipse on my birthday.
I went up to the floor where I worked to see if anyone had an extra pair of glasses. No one seemed interested in the eclipse. Not one coworker had gone downstairs to get glasses.
My daughters and I walked outside, and I felt disappointment start to well up inside me.
I’m not giving up, I thought. I’m still believing God will provide.
I remembered my friend who hadn’t called me back.
“Julie,” I said when I called her after I got back to the car, “do you have a pair of solar eclipse glasses? Maybe we could get together and share them.”
“I do have a pair,” she said. “But I was planning to go to the college and watch it there. They’re having a big solar eclipse event.”
I arranged to meet her there. My daughters weren’t interested, so I dropped them off and headed toward the college.
I hope I find a parking place, I thought. At a stop light I dialed the school and went on the hands free phone to ask where I should park. It had been a long time since I visited that campus where I took classes years before. The man on the phone told me exactly where to park.
When I arrived there was plenty of parking, and I connected with my friend in a matter of minutes thanks to our cell phones.
Many hundreds of people filled the square in the center of the campus. Music played in the background. Telescopes were set up, and long lines formed behind them.
My friend took out her glasses and looked up in the sky.
“I can’t see anything,” she said.
She handed me the glasses, and I moved my head around and saw the crescent shape of the sun while everything around it remained pitch black.
“Wow,” I marveled, handing the glasses back to my friend. “What a birthday treat. And I get to share it with you,” I added.
“I see it,” she proclaimed, excitedly.
We took turns looking again and again and offered the glasses to people around us who didn’t have any as the college had also run out.
Others came up to me while my friend looked and asked, “Did you get to see? You can use my glasses.”
The atmosphere of sharing lifted my spirits.
At the maximum time of the eclipse the music from “2001; A Space Odyssey” played loudly. People cheered.
After the song ended, this announcement came over the loud speaker:
“If you move over to the sidewalk, you will see reflections of many crescents, thanks to the leaves on the trees.
We went over and took photos of the phenomenon, which seemed like magic to Julie and me.
In the midst of our celebration of the eclipse and my birthday, we met a lady named Laurie and got to know here some. We looked through her glasses which were a bit different and got her to take photos of Julie and me, and then we took photos of her with each of us.
A lady came up and said, “Do you want a photo of all three of you?”
“Sure,” we said and posed.
I thought of how God had a bigger, better blessing for me besides watching the eclipse in the yard by myself on my birthday. If I had bought the glasses at the store or got them at my work place, that’s what I would have done.
Instead I got to spend the time with one of my best friends,–who recently turned the same age as me–and also with a large group of people who cared about what was happening in the sky as much as I did.
I loved the celebratory mood and being with all the children and families who gathered for the event.
As the people began to disperse, Julie and I went inside the cafeteria to get a cold drink. We visited for a while and expressed gratitude to the Lord out loud for the good time we had together and for His arranging for us to be together.
I’m still reflecting on my memorable birthday celebration and looking up to the sky to see the eclipse with a good friend and lots of excited and happy strangers. This verse comes to mind:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” James 1:17 NIV
I look forward to keeping alert for other blessings God has in store for me.
Thank You, Lord, for the wonderful birthday gift.
“We Are Blessed” by All Sons and Daughters